How brands invest TikTok in France

TikTok arrived in Europe in 2018 and has convinced young and old and brands. Balenciaga, Danone, La Redoute, Renault, supermarkets, energy, telecommunications and even recruitment firms are looking for new prominence on Chinese social media. The French subsidiary announced its first concrete results.

Tiktok France does not disclose the number of French users and does not comment on the potential impact of its parent company’s US setbacks on its operations. However, it is clear that the Chinese social network has attracted internet users and … brands especially since the March restriction. France is no exception to the rule.

Some brands such as Coca-Cola or Apple were expected for this type of medium, others provide more surprises. Haute couture and luxury that are not exposed to physical events, for example, have proven themselves in the new networks. Burberry has chosen Amazon’s esports platform, Twitch. And YSL, Louis Vuitton and Dior have chosen TikTok. Balenciaga is even an early customer who has become a returning customer. More surprisingly, La Redoute was also tempted. The mail order company has exceeded its goals so far that it wants to repeat the experience. With a few exceptions such as the intermediate group Synergy, B2B almost never stays in the network. However, Arnaud Cabanis, general manager of the French subsidiary, states that several recruitment companies are in the starting blocks. The difficulty of getting the youngest interested had also prompted the National Police to successfully run several campaigns on Snapchat and Instagram to recruit their future cadets.

All kinds of brands in all kinds of industries

“We have more than 250 active customers in France in a wide variety of industries,” explains Arnaud Cabanis. It all started logically with the numerous game studios in France whose formats are natively adapted to TikTok. Large groups like Société Générale or L’Oréal, Renault with his Zoe on the Tour de France, Mercedes, Porsche, supermarkets, tourism with the Puits du Fou or Futuroscope … All industries are interested. In the 4th quarter of 2020 we will have energy suppliers and telecommunications operators. “”

According to TikTok, the campaign results are phenomenal in terms of the number of views and click-through rate. “The brands don’t tell us the impact of their campaigns on their sales,” explains Arnaud Cabanis. But many come back, such as Balenciaga, Danone or La Redoute. It is a sign. A Kantar study commissioned by TikTok confirms the first concrete offline effects of certain operations such as However, the company warns: In the beginning, the other platforms also had very good results in terms of brand awareness and purchase intent before the trend reversed.

“The new negotiation chip is commitment,” said Arnaud Cabanis, Managing Director of TikTok France.

But why are marketing departments interested in this social media today? Another in an increasingly rich panel. First of all, TikTok isn’t something very original in the terms of Snapchat and Instagram, and it offers mobile users the ability to share videos from 15 to 60 seconds. So far nothing very different. But it makes it easier for everyone to create personalized clips and focus on entertainment. And the youngest, aged 13 and over, adopted it at high speed. Each user has their own personalized feed to share these short videos, amateur and always musical. According to Kantar, TikTok is completely different from other platforms, especially because it doesn’t promote style, but everyday and simple. UGC (User Generated Content) is king and with two or three clicks anyone can become a creator with a little editing, a music library of over 7000 copyright-free songs, special effects …

“The numbers and the number of sights don’t matter, says Arnaud Cabanis, it’s the authenticity and, in particular, the commitment that counts. The new negotiating chip is commitment. This is what brands are looking for. »A small stranglehold for its competitors, Instagram and their influencers with millions of followers. Indeed, the Chinese network insists on the investment it makes in its “creators”, a qualifying trait it prefers to that of influencers. A pure distinction in vocabulary.

As can be seen from the Kantar study, the platform for targeting the so-called Z generation is obvious. “However, TikTok’s audience is bigger than you think”. If a third of the devotees in the world are between 16 and 24 years old, another third is between 25 and 34 years old, like the last third, which comes from the cacochymes over 35 years old. A relative aging of the TikTok population that has a lot to do with the pandemic and worldwide lockdowns.

Creator, influencer at the center of TikTok’s strategy

TikTok created a marketplace to connect creators, influencers and brands together. (Source Kantar)

The most creative, but also the most viewed by TikTok subscribers, are one of the most important cogs in Chinese business strategy. The Chinese have opened a creator marketplace in the French market to connect these influencers with brands. It refers to their profiles according to centers of interest (dance, magic, fashion, play …) and to their metrics (see picture Kantar). “We can advise brands, guide them, but we only intervene in the context and not in the relationship or the definition of compensation,” says Arnaud Cabanis. For example, we presented Flashboy.MP4, a king of editing and film production, lover of rap and street music, in Clairefontaine. But then they worked directly on the creative development together. “”

The Chinese have launched a USD 200 million (EUR 170 million) fund to support these influencers, which is expected to increase in the coming years. The approach has been criticized by users from the start, as our colleagues at Wired reported in September, doubting interest and even the allocation of funds. TikTok responded on its blog in early October, stating that the calculation involves a combination of factors including number of views, engagement to content, and compliance with house guidelines. Subjective elements, which are therefore at the discretion of the platform. However, it is also reluctant to reduce the number of views of those entering the fund.

The hashtag challenge, atypical format, taken from La Redoute

At the end of June, the Chinese grouped all their devices for brands under the same umbrella, TikTok for Business. Arnaud Cabanis recalled that there were 5 formats: in-stream advertising, the popular hashtag challenge, creative tools called branding effects, push notifications and profiles. Apple was the first prime-time video customer to stream with a 24-hour exclusivity reserved for a single brand in the French market every day. Your 60-second clip had a 15% click-through rate. Coca-Cola opted for a 3 second video with no sound! It was broadcast for 24 hours.

Unique to TikTok, the hashtag challenge appeals to businesses, including some of the most traditional. The principle is simple: a brand challenges internet users with an associated hashtag. In order to rejuvenate its customers, the shipping company La Redoute from the north, accompanied by its agency Fred & Farid, started a casting on August 14 with the name … #LaRedouteChallenge. They worked with TikTok to find the best format to generate virality and identify the muses of his future campaign. The platform brought her into contact with 3 young influencers. Result? 255 million views.

“Balenciaga was one of our first customers in France last Christmas to drive traffic to its brand new e-commerce website,” says Arnaud Cabanis. The results were exceptional with an 18% click-through rate (CTR) on the video buttons returning to the website, almost 20 times the result on other platforms! Since then, they have revamped many campaigns. “”

What about respect for private life? Given the sensitive issue of data protection and privacy, especially for a Chinese player, highlighted by the conflict with the US government, TikTok opened a “Trust and Security” center. ) reserved in Dublin for the protection of users. The company is building its European data center in the Irish capital, which will be operational in 2022. The platform also allows its users to switch their accounts to private if necessary, not allowing comments, and blocking messages. Directly for children under 16 and has a family relationship with the parents … In her transparency report, she states that she deleted more than 104 million videos.

100 million followers in Europe. Tiktok has been available in Europe since August 2018 and has several offices including France, Great Britain, Italy and Spain, with a total of 2000 employees. It has 100 million users in the Union but does not share figures on the number of its members in France.